For the sixth consecutive year, the Butte College LEAP Academy is providing first-generation migrant high school students with an early college experience.
The LEAP Academy is a partnership with Butte College, Migrant Education, Educational Talent Search (CSUC), California Mini-Corps (CSUC), the US Forest Service and the Boy Scouts of America.
This year 90 students, mostly from Butte and Glenn counties, along with a handful from Tehama and Yuba counties, will attend six Saturday academy sessions between January and April, with many catching a 6:30a.m. Butte College bus to arrive on the main campus in time for their day of activities and academics.
The students' day begins with a large breakfast followed by a morning of team-building activities followed by lunch and an afternoon of classes.
"We have a new structure this year with four classes including Chicano studies, web design, creative writing and art. The program is very exciting because we'll be addressing all the different learning styles of the students giving them the opportunity to find something in the program to get excited about and latch on to the belief that they can be college students," said Brad Zuniga, Butte Collegeassistant director of recruitment and outreach.
Each year the academy features a book in common. For the 2012 LEAP the students will read "Tattoos of the Heart," by Dr. Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest who has worked for decades with youth at risk and former gang members in Southern California. The book contains a series of short stories with parables
"We chose Father Boyle's book because while our students are not gang members, they come from communities where gangs are prevalent and may have family members or
friends who are involved in gangs. The book allows us to explore with them why people become involved in gangs and what they can do to help gang prevention in their own communities and their peers to not go down that path,' said Zuniga.
The books are available to the students in both Spanish and English and the academy will also make copies of the books available to members of the students' families.
At the completion of the academy, the students will have read the book, created their own web pages, drawn or painted a series of three self-portraits, andwritten a collection of their own poetry. They will also have each earned one elective unit of college credit.
"These students demonstrate a huge dedication to school. They are good students who are all committed to attending college," said Zuniga.